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How to Make Money with a Hiking Vlog?

Can you make money with a hiking vlog?

Have you considered starting a hiking vlog but are unsure of the ways to make money with it? Do you know there are certain ways you can’t make money without violating regulations?

Earning a profit with your hiking videos can be confusing unless you know what you’re doing.

I’ve been doing it for 6 years and practice it legally. Let me share my tactics and show you how you can make money with a hiking vlog today.

Understand Regulations if trying to Make Money with a Hiking Vlog

Before you try to make money with a hiking vlog, it’s important to research and understands regulations about commercial filming.

Your state parks probably have a commercial filming rule. The US Forest Service has a commercial filming rule. The National Park Service implemented one of the most extensive commercial filming rules.

These commercial filming rules often require you to gain permission, be insured, and purchase permits for filming on public land.

Most of the filming permits are typical $100 and up per person. Liability insurance can cost anywhere from $600 to $3,000 a year. The waiting period for commercial use permits could take months.

These commercial filming rules include uploading to YouTube and monetizing videos.

But what about when YouTube monetizes the video? Technically speaking, that’s between YouTube and the public land management agency. You haven’t initiated ads on the video since you can turn ads on or off. YouTube initiated them. Some argue that you’re still liable. But that would mean millions of people are liable right now.

Would there be an ROI to get a commercial filming permit to monetize on YouTube? Maybe but probably not.

Unless your channel has a large following and your AdSense payout per video is high, you’ll probably spend more on the permit process than you’ll profit.

I urge you to contact your lawmakers and ask them to develop legislation to regulate the public land management agencies’ abilities to charge unrealistic prices to small businesses. YouTube creators are business owners. These permit costs were created for movie production companies with large budgets, not a hiker with a GoPro camera.

Be careful about trying to bypass these permit rules. You might think you won’t get caught, and maybe you won’t. But if you do get caught, you might get sued. You might lose access to public lands. In some cases, you could face criminal charges. Ignoring commercial filming rules might be an expensive mistake.

But should you give up then? No. You should continue to read this guide below.

Make Money with a Hiking Vlog

Monetize Videos on Private Property (with Permission)

Review videos are one of the best video themes to make money with a hiking vlog.

You can make detailed review videos of hiking and outdoor recreation products. These types of video themes usually do well with ads enabled on them. You can also use referral and affiliate links to make money with the video.

But what about commercial filming permits?

Instead of filming your review on public land, do it on private property. Try to film on your own property or the wooded property of someone else who has permitted you to film commercially. You could even do it inside your house using a green screen.

This is a great way to create videos intended to make money without worrying about commercial filming requirements.

However, if you use any footage (including intro/outro footage) on public land in it, you still need to get a commercial filming permit to monetize that video. This is why most video creators should create custom intros and outros that do not contain scenes of public property that might require permits.

You should also check with local authorities to ensure you don’t need a business license or local permit to monetize filming projects. In most cases, you won’t, but it’s good to ensure before you go through with it.

Then you have to make the best review to get enough interest to make money with your hiking vlog. But that’s a whole different article!


Monetize Content Offered for Free with a Blog

Another great way to make money with your hiking vlog is to branch out to other profitable media products.

In this case, blogs.

You can write about public land all you want and do not have to have a permit. In most cases, you can share photos on the blog posts without a permit since viewing blog posts is free.

This is a great way to monetize your hiking niche.

You can even link your YouTube videos (or embed them) to your blog posts. Since they’re external links, it cannot be considered monetizing the videos when you monetize your article.

I’m not writing this article to show you how to monetize a blog. I’m writing to tell you that blogging is a great option for monetizing.

But you can monetize by using ad networks like Google Adsense, selling sponsored content, selling ads directly, affiliate marketing, and many other methods of making money with a blog.

Some people can get good enough at monetizing blog posts that it’s all they need to use to earn the profit they desire.

When focusing on profitable blogging, I recommend that you develop your grammar and spelling skills or use a platform such as Grammarly. I also recommend you get good with SEO or Search Engine Optimization. When you get good at SEO, you can use it to make money with your hiking vlog and your regular blog.

Blogs are still very popular, especially in outdoor recreation and travel niches.


Create a Brand and Monetize Services/Products

Take your ability to make money with a hiking vlog to a whole new level by branding up.

In a world where artificial intelligence is about to become a very big and popular thing, competition in industries is going to explode. It’s going to be harder to compete because of AI.

This is why building a brand and developing a community with your brand are so important.

A brand will make you memorable to followers and customers. A community will only increase the memorable capacity of your brand. It is a win-win without a loser.

AI can’t take control of our memories just yet.

A good brand is memorable across your entire enterprise. That means you must use the same name, username, photo/avatar, cover art, color scheme, and voice across all social media and your website. You can deliver unique content that differs from other channels, but your brand needs to remain the same.

After you build your brand and start to get a community going, move to the next level of how you make money with a hiking vlog.

Sell stuff.

It could be physical products like hiking gear. It can be merch like hoodies, t-shirts, and hats. It can also be digital products like photos (ensure permits aren’t needed), maps, etc.

I sell itinerary planning, hiking guide services, and official merch for my brand.

This can turn into a full-time job which is great for you! More time for hiking when you’re your own boss!


And that’s how you make money with a hiking vlog. I hope you enjoyed this article. You can use this advice for other niches, too. Use it for hunting, fishing, camping, cycling, or your vlog. If you enjoyed this article and want more, subscribe to my free newsletter on my homepage.

Shawn Gossman

About the Author

Shawn Gossman has created content, blogged, ran online communities, and shared a passion for digital marketing for over twenty years. Shawn believes the best way to help content creators, businesses, brands, and marketers is to give away more than you sell. The same advice is recommended for the readers who follow this blog. Shawn also offers various services for extra help in content creation and blogging.

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